In an essay for Vanity Fair, Monica Lewinsky explored how three A-List men — Prince Harry, Brad Pitt, and Jay-Z — have recently challenged our ideas about traditional masculinity. She devoted an entire section of the essay to discussing Jay-Z's confessions from his "Footnotes for 4:44" video that was released a day after his album dropped earlier this month. In the video, the rapper said, "I just ran into this place and we built this big, beautiful mansion of a relationship that wasn't totally built on the 100 percent truth. Then it starts cracking, and then things start happening that the public can see...We had to go a point and be like, 'Tear this down,' and then start from the beginning."
Many fans took these words as Jay-Z confirming that he had in fact cheated on his wife Beyoncé. To most, it sure sounded like the video was a direct response to allegations of infidelity that were raised in Lemonade. In her Vanity Fair essay, Monica Lewinsky expressed great appreciation for Jay-Z's willingness to openly address the subject of adultery. She wrote, "Jay-Z had a choice. Having been called out publicly by his wife in her fierce 2016 album and video, Lemonade, Jay-Z knew that his fans wouldn’t have blinked if his next album skimmed past the allegations. That’s not uncommon for men to do." She continued, "Jay-Z could have ignored it all. But, instead, he chose a path of candor that will...move the conversation forward and help others."
As someone whose identity has long been tied to a very public cheating scandal, we're not at all surprised to hear Lewinsky say this. That doesn't mean, however, that we disagree with her point. Though she didn't directly link Jay-Z's confession to her own experience, she did give a metaphorical knowing smirk by saying, "It is a refreshing and bracing antidote to see male icons convey vulnerability in an age when Washington’s new power elite and our coarsening culture are busy projecting an outmoded caricature of manhood, 24/7."
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